'We don't know where the money is' Commissioner proposing forens - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'We don't know where the money is' Commissioner proposing forensic audit of BCSO

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The controversy surrounding Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson is coming to a head.

Last month, Sheriff Watson was indicted on six felony counts for forgery of documents and titles related to used car sales. The Sheriff has remained on the job after posting bail.  

Today some Bradley County Commissioners took aim at the Sheriff's budget, claiming thousands of dollars are missing. 

District 6 Commissioner, Dan Rawls says he is pushing for a forensic audit of the Bradley County Sheriff's Department and it's Corrections Department. 

"Pretty much a forensic audit is a complete break down of all of the line items within a budget and you target particular line items where there appears to be some discrepancies," said Commissioner Dan Rawls, District 6.  

A recent audit by the State Comptroller's office found more than half of the county credit card transactions in 2015 lacked signatures and detailed receipts, or were used locally, rather than for travel. 

The audit that included the County Mayor's office also showed that county employees swiped the card 430 times in 2015 and about half of those purchases lacked documentation. 

Still, auditors found "no intentional breakdown " of rules, in the county's credit card usage. 

"I mean if you find these problems then I think it's up to each county to rectify the problems with in their own system," said Rawls. 

Among commissioner Rawls' major concerns is what he calls mismanagement of the Sheriff's Department's food budget for prisoners. 

"We don't know where the money is and no one has ever given me an accurate explanation of why," said Rawls. 
When we asked Rawls about the amount of money in question, he answered, " lets just say I'm looking for over $80,000 dollars." 

Some commissioners disagree with Rawls and his proposed forensic audit. In statement to Channel 3, District 4 Commissioner Howard Thompson says, "There has been nothing brought to our attention saying that money is missing . I am so tired of accusations from one commissioner starting rumors that bear no validity." 

District 4 Commissioner, Charlotte Peak-Jones replied, " I'm not going to vote a certain way that would appear that I don't have confidence in the TBI and their ongoing investigation. My constituents are sick of the drama and all they see is a personal vendetta" 

While District 2 Commissioner Thomas Crye wrote, "I do not have a personal agenda in support of a forensic audit but I do have a fiduciary responsibility as a county commissioner to insure the citizens money is property spent and accounted for. I do support a forensic audit of the Sheriff's Department to either remove the "cloud" or document the mistake(s) that exist."

Crye tells Channel 3 that the issues "floating around the community" put a cloud over the Sheriff's department and staff.  He says he would like to see any issue investigated so that it may be put to rest. 

Dan Rawls is standing firm.

"There's a lot of people that would like to make this a personal vendetta of some sort, you elected me to oversee your money you know and this is what our fiduciary responsibility is and that's what I'm doing," said Rawls. 

The Sheriff's Department had no comment on the proposed forensic audit or any alleged budgetary issues. 

The forensic audit will have to be approved by a vote of the commissioners, we'll keep you updated on what happens. 

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